‘Tis the season, friends! But not the season for firm, crisp, dryish gingerbread that you can literally build tiny houses from. This season, let’s make some soft pillowy gingerbread with sunken centers and slightly crisped edges and open crackly crags of gingery spice and rich, but not overwhelming, molasses. Let’s roll them in sugar, get them baked to perfection, and dip them in a mapley glaze. Yes? Yes.
The hallmark flavors of gingerbread are molasses and ginger, so once we’ve got those going on in all the right proportions, who says that gingerbread cookies can’t be a textural wonder of soft and chewy and crackly and tender-buttery-crisp all in one glorious bite? 2021 is the year to reinvent “gingerbread” into a cookie that we really, truly love.
No gingerbread men splat flat on a pan. Go all out this year. Get your Christmas music playing, your cozy candles lit, get your tried and true baking sheets, your favorite mixing bowls, and your holiday spirit at the ready. Let’s do this.
Deliciously SOFT Gingerbread Cookies
It’s hard to describe just how good these are, these spicy-sweet little gingerbread pillows. There’s certainly a time and a place for the darker, more crisp peppery gingerbread, but that is not this. These cookies are suuuuper soft, light and coppery, almost melty in their ginger spice, with the slightest crunch from the edges and little sugar sprinkles.
And if your family has always gathered round a floured surface, armed with rolling pins and cookie cutters, fear not! Sure you may not be stamping out little shapes or battling with royal icing, making sure the gingerbread people don’t look like sorta scary clowns with drippy icing smiles, all while making sure your toddler isn’t eating too much dough…but will you miss that part? (Okay fine, maybe…these are the beautiful chaotic memories we cherish).
But there are memories to be made around these as well. Gently rolling the soft gingerdough balls in the snowy sugar. Getting the perfect half dip of creamy maple glaze once they’re out of the oven. Going a little extra and piping tiny little holly leaves and berries on them or maybe just a few festive sprinkles. Gathering round the oven to see who can smell the warm sweet ginger bake first.
Also, can we talk about that maple glaze? Subtle, sweet, and smooth taking these just one notch above magnificent. Just…come on.
Key Ingredients For Gingerbread Cookies
For these truly remarkable gingerbread cookies, you’ll need the staples — flour, sugar, butter, eggs, and salt. There’s a little extra baking soda in there to ensure a good spread, so they go wider and flatter in the oven. This is key to their positively clutch texture. Beyond that, let’s round up this delicious list, shall we?
extra sugar for rolling
lil’ holly sprinkles if you’re extra (so cute, so fun, so merry)
How To Make Gingerbread Cookies From Scratch
Once your ingredients are assembled and your heart is ready and your kitchen windows are fogged from the heat of your oven, it’s cookie-baking time, and is there any other better time on this planet?
Make your dough. Cream butter and sugar, and then incorporate egg and molasses. Add your dry ingredients and mix until you have a soft dough. Pinch off a piece because it’s the holidays, but also don’t eat raw dough, and also merry everyday to you.
Roll and bake. Scoop dough into small balls and then take one teeny extra step to gently roll them in sugar until they literally sparkle. Line your sheet and bake.
Maple glaze. Whisk together your glaze ingredients until smooth. Dip one side of your slightly cooled, slightly flattened cookies in to coat. Now’s the time to add sprinkles if you’re feeling it.
There is already so much joy in cookies and these are big-time joy-bringers. There’s just something so special about gingerbread, with all its cozy and merry and bright. So fill your jars, your holiday platters, your care packages and gift boxes, your kiddos’ eager hands. Leave them on your plates for Santa and sneak them in the night like magic.
We hope your holidays are filled with all the best things this year, like family and friends and gingerbread.
Soft Gingerbread Cookies: FAQs
How should I store these cookies?
Store these cookies in a sealed container at room temp for 3-5 days (if they even last that long in your house).
Are there any substitutes for molasses?
It won’t taste exactly the same, but maple syrup can work in a pinch.
Can you freeze these cookies?
Yes! Just bake ’em up and freeze any leftovers in an air-tight container.
Let’s make Soft Gingerbread Cookies this holiday season! Soft, pillowy gingerbread with sunken centers and slightly crisped edges, plus little nooks and crannies packed with ginger spice and molasses. These are SO GOOD!
3/4cupsalted butter, softened (1 1/2 sticks)
1 large egg
2 1/4cupsall-purpose flour(10.75 ounces)
2 teaspoonsbaking soda
1–2 teaspoons groundginger
granulated sugar for rolling
2 tablespoonsmelted butter
1/4cup pure maple syrup
3/4 to 1cupconfectioners’ sugar
pinch of salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg and molasses; mix until incorporated.
Add flour, baking soda, salt, and ginger. Mix until a soft dough forms.
Scoop into small balls (a little smaller than the size of a golf ball) and roll in sugar. Bake for 8-10 minutes; remove from pan so the cookies can sink / flatten slightly as they cool.
Allow the cookies to cool fully. Whisk maple glaze ingredients together until smooth. Dip one side of the cooled cookies into the maple glaze, set on a piece of wax paper, and add a few festive sprinkles before the glaze sets! So fun.
In testing, we found that 10.75 ounces of flour was the perfect amount to achieve the texture and flat look of the cookies shown in the photos. These flatter cookies are ideal for dipping into the glaze. If you don’t have a food scale, you should be able to get the right amount of flour by spooning it into the measuring cup and leveling it off.
For puffier cookies, we used 12.5 ounces of flour. These cookies would be great if you’re going to skip the glaze and serve as is. If you don’t have a food scale, you should be able to get the right amount of flour by scooping the flour with the measuring cup and leveling it off. If you find that your first batch is a bit flatter than you’d hoped, feel free to mix in a tablespoon or two of flour to the rest of the dough to achieve puffier cookies.
Give these cookies some holly sprinkles to bring them over the top.
I used unsulphured molasses. For most of my testing I used the Grandma’s brand which can be found in the baking section of many grocery stores. Blackstrap molasses is less sweet and would not be recommended here.
The glaze should set to become fully dry to the touch with just sitting on the counter. However, I prefer storing these cookies in the fridge to keep the glaze set really well, and also because of the chewy-delicious texture they get being in the fridge. My “method” was to just take one out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter for 5-10 minutes to soften just slightly before enjoyed with a hot coffee or a glass of milk.